SOURCE: Greenberg Traurig, LLP

May 18, 2010 19:13 ET

Landmark Streaming Media Case Resolved in Favor of Greenberg Traurig Client MobiTV, Inc.

ASCAP Dispute Resolved; License Fees Set at Only 2% of ASCAP Proposal

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - May 18, 2010) -  A landmark streaming media case has been resolved in favor of MobiTV, Inc., the leading provider of technology solutions that deliver media over wireless and broadband networks, according to its legal team at the San Francisco office of international law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP. The case focused on MobiTV, Inc. in its dispute with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) over reasonable royalties for a license covering the public performance of ASCAP musical compositions by MobiTV's mobile and Internet television/radio services.

Veteran litigator Kenneth Steinthal, a managing shareholder of Greenberg Traurig's San Francisco office, led the Greenberg Traurig team. According to Steinthal, who focuses on trying cases in the music and broader media industries both in the United States and internationally, this decision is the first to address the royalty structure for music performance rights associated with the transmission of television/radio content to mobile devices.

"The decision is significant and likely will have ramifications regarding ASCAP's licensing of a number of other industry entities engaged in both traditional and what some have called 'new media' forms of television and radio program distribution," said Steinthal.

The Opinion and Order issued by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, In re Application of MobiTV, Inc., 09 Civ. 7071 (DLC), categorically rejected ASCAP's proposed licensing structure. It has been reported that this would have generated fees to ASCAP of more than $41 million from MobiTV alone for the period from its launch through 2011. The court instead adopted MobiTV's proposal in its entirety, establishing a framework for MobiTV's ASCAP fees that draws upon the licensing framework ASCAP has applied to cable television networks for more than a decade. As a result, fees due to ASCAP from MobiTV are less than 2% of what ASCAP sought, according to Steinthal.

"From our vantage point, the outcome of this case is game-changing for both MobiTV and the entire mobile content industry. Ultimately, we believe this will help clarify the cost structure of mobile content distribution, which is an issue much bigger than MobiTV, and, as an industry leader, we felt it was of great importance to take on this cause, which will also benefit consumers in the long run," said Charlie Nooney, chief executive officer, MobiTV.

"We are grateful for the decision and believe that it establishes a clear framework for licensing that industry participants -- channel suppliers, aggregators, and carriers -- can readily incorporate into their contractual distribution arrangements," said Steinthal. "The decision also is likely to have positive implications for several cases awaiting resolution by the ASCAP 'Rate Court,' including ones involving major wireless carriers, operators of Internet streaming services, and major cable and broadcast television and radio networks/stations."

About Greenberg Traurig, LLP
Greenberg Traurig, LLP is an international, full-service law firm with approximately 1,775 attorneys serving clients from more than 30 offices in the United States, Europe and Asia. In the U.S., the firm has more offices than any other among the Top 20 on The National Law Journal's 2009 NLJ 250. In the U.K., the firm operates as Greenberg Traurig Maher LLP. Additionally, Greenberg Traurig has strategic alliances with the following independent law firms: Studio Santa Maria in Milan and Rome, TA Lawyers GKJ in Tokyo, and Weber Law Office in Zurich. The firm was Chambers and Partners' USA Law Firm of the Year in 2007 and among the Top 3 in the International Law Firm of the Year at the 2009 The Lawyer Awards. For additional information, please visit www.gtlaw.com.

Contact Information

  • Media Contacts:

    Heather Sarni
    Greenberg Traurig
    +1 (415) 655-1306
    SarniH@gtlaw.com

    Paige Schoknecht
    Prequent, Inc. (for Greenberg Traurig)
    +1 (408) 275-1419 office
    +1 (650) 223-4085 mobile
    paige@prequent.com